Gatokaca and Pregiwa Romanticism in Sriwedari Park

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Sriwedari Park gate.

Because Loji Gandrung was once used by Colonel Gatot Subroto as the commado centre in facing Operatie Kraai which was launched by Dutch in December 1948. That was a reason which I would find later why a statue chosen to be placed in front of Loji Gandrung was General Gatoto Subroto Statue.

Now we would talk about other topic….

In the past….

Before Manahan Stadium was built by Cendana Family*1 through Ibu Tien Soeharto Foundation in 1998. Solo City had a small but legendary football stadium. The stadium which had given birth to a professional football club that had made history in Indonesian football, namely Arseto Solo FC. The stadium itself was called Sriwedari Stadium. This naming itself was of course related to its location in Sriwedari area.

That night, of course, I had no intention of visiting Sriwedari Stadium after visiting Loji Gandrung to seek information. But you just needed to know that on east side of this legendary stadium, there was a cultural park which was famous in Wayang Orang Art*2 performance. This cultural park was known as Sriwedari Park.

Fifteen minutes past nine o’clock in evening, exiting Loji Gandrung gate, I continued my survey trip to east for half a kilometer. Along south side of Slamet Riyadi Street, I stepped into night crowd. Until I arrived at a name board entitled “I Love Solo” which was located in a small park under a large tree, right in the middle of a wide sidewalk. This was a sign that my step had reached in the destination.

Hangout place in front of Sriwedari Park.
Gatotkaca and Pregiwa statue.

I was greeted by a magnificent gate with a “Buto*3” mask on it then followed by a welcome greeting by a golden statues of Gatotkaca and Pregiwa*4 in courtyard. From there alone, Javanese cultural aura smelled very strongly. Meanwhile, a large pavilion filled one side of  park.

From the information which I read on an event calendar at one point. Exactly two months before my visitation, this place has held an annual performance in Wayang Orang Art preservation effort, i.e 7th Wayang Bocah Festival. It seemed that Solo was very active in preserving culture. Having cultural events from an early age to providing cultural venues such as Sriwedari Park was a real proof.

At back-east of pavilion stands Gedung Kesenian Solo. While on the right side, there were several neat project boards which surround THR (Taman Hiburan Rakyat) Sriwedari. I received information that this park had been closed and would be replaced by Taman Sriwedari Mosque. THR Sriwedari itself was one of legends of an amusement park at Solo city centre on the past. Previously, this area was known as Bon Rojo (Kebon Rojo/King’s Garden) in Paku Buwono X era.

Meanwhile, to back-west of pavilion was Gedung Wayang Orang Sriwedari. This building had played an important role in Wayang Orang Art  preservation which had been functioning for nearly a century.

Sriwedari Park was a place which worth visiting if there was a cultural event during Marketing Conference. However, if there was no, there was very little chance of visiting it.


Cendana Family*1 is Second President of Republic of Indonesia’s family.

Wayang Orang Art*2  is a type of classical Javanese dance theatrical performance with themes taken from episodes of the Ramayana or Mahabharata.

Buto*3 is another term for evil giant

Gatotkaca and Pregiwa*4. Gatotkacais a character in Mahabharata epic, he is a son of Bima. Pregiwa is Gatotkaca’s wife.

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Designing a Teaser at Manahan Stadium

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Ir. Soekarno statue in Manahan Stadium gate.

If Jakarta chooses Gelora Bung Karno as proud sport area of capital city, Solo has a well-known sport area, namely Manahan Stadium. And this time, I had an opportunity to directly survey it for Marketing Conference purpose which will held in two months after this survey.

My arrival at Manahan Stadium started when I finished in enjoying dinner at GALABO (Gladag Langen Bogan), which was in Kedung Lumbu area. After making sure that my stomach was full with a portion of Soto Kwali and continued by warming my body with a portion of Wedang Ronde, I left GALABO which was heading for its peak of crowd. I enjoyed my last song at that place while waiting for an online taxi which I ordered.

For some reason, songs which had been so beat in firstly, but towards the end of my visiting in GALABO, turned melancholy. A song “Sewu Kutho” belonging to the late Didi Kempot accompanied my steps in leaving GALABO until its rhythm became silent when I entered an online taxi.

Manahan Stadium, Sir”.

The main road to get there is being renovated, Sir. There is an flyover construction project. Can I take another route, Sir. A little longer to reach the destination

It’s okay. I’m not in a rush either. Just relax, Sir“.

Ok, Sir. Thank you”.

I didn’t understand about a route which wa took by this middle-aged driver. I just enjoyed every step on gas pedal through night streets of Solo City. City atmosphere was still lively even though it was past eight in evening

I arrived at destination 10 minutes later than scheduled time. I was dropped off on south side of stadium, right in front of the Ir. Soekarno statue. This bronze statue of the first president of Republic of Indonesia was seen sitting and reading a book. Meanwhile at ase of statue, LED lights played a role in producing color gradations which captivate visitors. And in the splash of colored lights, fountains took turns to beautify an oval pool area.

Manahan Dancing Fountain

Can I go inside, Sir?”, I asked a security guard at stadium gate.

Sorry, Sir. It’s closed from four o’clock in the afternoon. So we aren’t longer able to accept incoming visitors“.

Oh Okay, Sir. What time is it open, sir in every day? ”.

It’s open on eight o’clock in the morning, Sir. So I suggest you to coming here again tomorrow”.

Oh Okay, Sir”.

I turned around and sat on the edge of Manahan Dancing Fountain.

Kriiingggg….. Kriiingggg. I got a call.

Hello Donny. How about Solo City? Is it nice?. Oh yes, Donny, you have to publish the first teaser for Marketing Conference today, because today is exactly two months before event!”, my CEO called me.

Yes, Ma’am”.

So that night, I was busy to designing Marketing Conference’s first teaser. I immediately contacted a staff of company’s Design Division in Jakarta, Tommi is his name. Then I told him about a concept which I wanted. I continued to guide him about concept detais and he was so quick to execute several revisions in teaser design until he could finish it in an hour. Because of busy agenda, I practically couldn’t see some of other corners in Manahan Stadium outside.

After I finished in sending information to each prospective Marketing Conference participant, I immediately rushed out of Manahan Stadium. Time was getting late and I have to keep moving ……

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